Posts tagged cheese
Cauliflower 'Cheese'.... fat free!

This is the recipe that has got me most excited in recent weeks!!

…And this is why!

...it’s quick to whip up, it uses two basic cheap ingredients, it freezes well, it’s so versatile as a sauce in so many recipes or even as a stand alone dip!

This would make a perfect ‘lightened up’ pasta bake or really anything that would use a regular cheese sauce. I made cauliflower cheese because to me that’s classic comfort food and it’s what I craved. You could add other vegetables or substitute the beans for the peas. I had some beans needing using up so I added them for extra protein and texture.

I can’t take full credit for the 'cheese' sauce as it has appeared in various guises around the Internet, and I tweaked this spices and removed the oil to make it my own.

I want to point out, that you could add some fat (see this recipe which was my main inspiration) and but I wanted to see what the texture was like without. Also, I prefer adding the fat component of a meal by way of ingredients such as nuts and avocados as opposed to adding unnecessary oils into sauces etc. That is simply my preference. 

Recipe: Cauliflower cheese

Serves 2

Ingredients- Sauce:

  • 2 small fist sized white potatoes- chopped on to smallish pieces (approx 350g)
  • 1 heaped cup chopped carrot (approx 150g)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast*
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard

Other ingredients: 

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 can white beans (or beans of choice or peas)

Method:

Boil the chopped carrots and the potato for 15 to 20 minutes until soft. (I used a food processor for the carrots and potatoes and then only cooked them for five minutes or so).

Meanwhile mix the rest of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Chop the cauliflower and courgette into smallish pieces and lay evenly in a medium sized glass oven dish.

Once the carrot and potato have cooked, transfer to a blender/food processor and add the remaining ingredients. I found the veg retained some cooking water, so add only a little extra water to start with as you do not want the sauce to be too runny, add extra if needed. 

Pour the sauce into the oven dish to fully coat the veggies. Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes until the top is golden and the veg cooked through.. Serve immediately with a side salad if desired.

*Do not skip or substitute the nutritional yeast, this is what gives the sauce it's cheesy flavour. I use this brand and it can be found in most whole food stores in the UK and online. It's a good store cupboard ingredient to have on hand for dairy free cooking!

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Vegan parmesan!

Calling all cheese addicts… (or pre-vegan cheese addicts!)

The other day I made a vegan 'parmesan cheese'. Now I'm not typically the kind of person who craves cheese, and I never really missed at all since going plant-based BUT I know that for many of you missing out from the cheesy delights that dairy offered is a pretty big deal.

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There are plenty of vegan-cheese sauces around the web (this is my favourites) and i've also previously created a vegan feta (still one of my greatest achievements!) and now we have parmesan to join the gang!

Ok, so I know this is not the stringy melty type of cheese tat many crave but this hard block of crumbly 'parmesan' is perfect to shave over salads or pasta.... basically anywhere you want what a little extra oomph.

It is super simple to make and will store for a few weeks (probably longer) in a fridge or the freezer and you can literally just grate from frozen and then out it back when you are done. Don't leave it at room temperature because it will get too melty.

can't take credit for this recipe as the source of inspiration came from this post on Janes Healthy Kitchen, it was also such a simple recipe i actually changed very little.

So, what do you most miss about cheese...any interesting replacements or creations of your own to share?

 

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Recipe: Vegan parmesan

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tbs lemon juice
  • ½ cup coconut butter
  • ¼ cup nooch
  • ¼ tsp vit. C powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil melted

Method

Blend together all ingredients other than the coconut oil, melt that separately and then add to the mix and blend again. Only add extra lemon juice if needed to help mix, if it is soft and smooth enough without then that is fine.

Pour/spoon the mix into a suitable small freezer container and freeze until solid. The ‘parmesan’ can be stored either in the fridge or freezer until ready to use. 

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Pesto

I know what you’re thinking…. pesto is all about the cheese.

Well not this version and I guarantee you won’t miss it.

What’s more I’ve included a few cost saving and tips and healthanizing (hmmm that’s really not a word!) tips to reduce the oil content if you are that way inclined (personally I am not since pesto is used in such relatively small quantities).

I first made this batch up a few months back and had almost forgotten about it since I had portioned it in to an ice-cream tray and frozen it. It’s a great way to ensure you have fresh pesto on hand at all times as it can be used in so many ways…. one great option will be coming up in tomorrow's post…but for now let’s just talk pesto!

This recipe is so simple (as you know I’m not generally a fan of over complicated instructions),  it’s another one of my ‘whack it all in a food processor and go’ type recipes, so there’s no excuse for not giving it a go if you have the ingredients to hand!

It’s also a pretty flexible recipe, and as you can see from the list of ingredients, spinach can used to sub part of the basil if necessary without compromising the flavour, similarly in the past I have used both walnuts and cashews instead of pine nuts as they are so expensive, but feel to use either, or even almonds…go a little crazy with your combos! Obviously some nuts have more of a dominant taste than others, so go with your preference. 

The nutritional yeast and miso paste are what gives the pesto the deep mellow cheesy nutty touch so don’t leave these out if you want to achieve a pesto that is more reminiscent of the real thing. As with many vegan foods, don’t expect it to be an exact replacement for it’s traditional counterpart . Embrace the (healthy) differences and enjoy it in it’s own right and appreciate the unique but equally satisfying flavours and textures.

Recipe: Vegan Pesto

Makes one jar

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh basil (or 1 ½ cups and omit the spinach)
  • ½ cup spinach plus ½ tsp dried basil)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbs soy milk or silken tofu
  • 1 cup walnuts/cashews/almonds (cheaper than the traditionally used pine nuts)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup
  • nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Note: You could sub half the oil for silken tofu (not tested)

Preparation:

Grind nuts and garlic in a food processor until nuts are coarsely ground. Combine with remaining ingredients and grind until you have a medium grained paste- it should not be to smooth!. Add more salt and pepper if preferred.

Store in the fridge for a few days or freeze in batches- I used an ice cube tray.

 (here's your little teaser....pesto polenta bruschetta)

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Mexican Bean Tortilla Stack

I love a good old veggie chilli!

Even before I began eating a vegan diet I often preferred to cook up a veggie chilli over a beef one. I think it’s more the textures and flavours of the dish than the actual meat itself that I fell in love with. The spices and the kidney beans are really what make a chilli.

Actually come to think of it, I usually find it’s the textures of a dish and the context of the food that I find draws me in…. for example I always loved my mum’s homemade chicken pie with veg and gravy, but I think I actually just have a thing for gravy smoothed over pastry and veg, I don’t think it really matters so much what the pie contains! Similarly tofu scramble on toast satisfies me just as much as traditional scrambled egg would have done.

(I now can’t get a vision of pie and gravy out of my mind!)

So, whilst a chilli is good… I wanted to change things up a little bit and up the protein count In the process. Beans! Beans! Beans! I also wanted to get a little saucy with a flavoursome cheese-style sauce drizzled over the top. I think the sauce makes a lovely rich complement to the dish but you could always have it without.

This dish also reminds me a little of a classic lasagne, with it’s lovely layering!

This is a super simple meal that looks great in the centre of the table, well that is until you cut into it, then it gets a bit messy! This serves 4 but you could easily use large tortillas to serve more, or make your own. I have used regular tortillas here, as I am not gluten free (although I often opt for recipes that are), but you could easily sub these for GF wraps available in many supermarkets.

Recipe: Mexican Bean tortilla stack

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion-finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli- finely chopped (or up to ½ tsp dried chilli flakes)
  • 2 cloves garlic- finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbs ground coriander
  • 400g can black beans
  • 400g can red kidney beans
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • A bunch of spring onions- sliced
  • 350g sweetcorn (canned or frozen)
  • 4 wholemeal tortilla wraps (regular or gluten free)
  • Vegan cheese sauce- see note below

Method

Heat oil in a large pan and gently fry the onions for around 5 minutes until soft. Stir through the chilli, garlic, cumin and coriander and cook for a further minute.

Pour in the beans, tomatoes and stock. Simmer for 10 minutes. Whilst this is simmering make up the cheese sauce- see below. Stir through the spring onions and the sweetcorn.

Place a tortilla wrap in the base of a spring form cake tin- approx. 20cm diameter. Spoon over ¼ of the mixture and spread evenly. Drizzle a little cheese sauce over the mixture. Top with another tortilla and repeat the process with 4 wraps in total finishing with a layer of bean mix and cheese sauce.

Bake the stack for 25 minutes at 200C. Slice into wedges to serve.

Note: You can use your own favourite strong cheese sauce recipe. My current favourite is taken from Oh She Glows and has a strong ’cheesy’ mustardy flavour giving a nice flavoursome kick to the tortilla stack.

The original recipe can be found here but I also provided my ever so slightly tweaked version below for reference. I increased the flour (I used cornflour) to 1.5 tbs to ensure a nice thick sauce.

Recipe: Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • 6tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 ½ tbs cornflour
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper

Method

Melt the coconut oil in a small pan over the hob. Whisk the flour and milk together in a separate bowl ensuring there are no lumps. Add the milk mixture plus all remaining ingredients to the pan and whisk well. Simmer and whisk for approx. 5 mins until thick.

Note: this sauce also freezes well so can be made in a batch.

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